AU Libraries Wins Nationally Recognized Prize for Public Relations

Touted as “The Most Prestigious Award of the American Library Association”  The ALA has recently announced that Alfred University Libraries is a winner of the coveted: 

2016 John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Award

gI_78425_johncottondana HPW_Presentation_Page_01 “Built around the National Library of Medicine’s traveling Harry Potter exhibit, the Scholes Library created a comprehensive marketing campaign that both showcased their own collections as well as their creativity as they celebrated all things Potter in a tiered campaign that brought the entire community together.”

With this recognition, AU Libraries takes its place alongside several of the nations’ most prestigious public and university libraries.

From the official press release :  April 29, Chicago, ILAfter many hours of deliberation – made especially challenging by the high quality of the dozens of entries in this year’s John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Awards – the judges announced the eight winners of this year’s contest.  Each winning library will receive a $10,000 award from EBSCO and the HW Wilson Foundation, the sponsors of this prestigious annual award. The following winners will be celebrated June 26 at an open reception during the American Library Association’s 2016 annual conference in Orlando.

illustrationIn Fall 2015, the Scholes Library at Alfred University hosted the National Library of Medicine’s “Harry Potter’s World” traveling exhibit. To welcome the exhibit, forge ties with the campus and community, and raise awareness of our collections, we created a two month long event series in the university libraries. The product of collaborations with university staff, faculty members, student groups, and local public libraries, this event series energized the Alfred community, created new connections between the library and outside institutions, and brought several hundred additional patrons into the libraries.

evaThe project was the brainchild of Scholes Art Librarian Eva Sclippa, whose leadership and creativity have helped put AU Libraries in the company of large, nationally recognized, library institutions such as Chicago, Houston, New Orleans, San Diego, Vancouver Public Libraries and the libraries at Northwestern University.  This is an extremely impressive company.  With a simple idea and a few hundred dollars, Eva has led the Alfred University Libraries and the entire university community to prove, once again, that Alfred University has magnificent creative resources and a dedicated faculty and staff who generate national recognition.

For additional information please see Application Materials Submission from Alfred University

Disaster? or Opportunity!

Water.

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As some of you know, Scholes Library experienced a bit of “disaster” last week.  A weather related radiator issue caused a small flood on our ground floor (Engineering Area).  Library staff were at the ready and all library materials were saved by our prepared and quick-thinking staff.  We were assisted by an all-hands-on-deck call to dedicated physical plant staff who stopped the fooding and worked quickly to dry us out.  We are extremely grateful and proud of our prepared and quick-thinking college staff who suffered little more than “wrinkled toes” from the flooding and clean-up.

From this unfortunate event springs a wonderful opportunity for Scholes Library.  As we prepare to put the space into functional order we are able to dream a little.  Do we really need these book stacks?  Have many of these titles and journals been replaced by electronic content?  Are there a better uses for this space that could address an immediate study need?  Can we use this opportunity to build a space in Scholes Library that will foster creativity and bring classroom learning to life?

Know that your library is looking to turn this unfortunate event into a innovative library space that will be designed for comfort and productivity and …..  YOU CAN HELP.  What are your thoughts?  What are your needs?

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What would you like to see in our disaster turned opportunity renovated library space?

If you have any thoughts, please forward them to Engineering Librarian Trevor Riley at riley@alfred.edu or Director Mark Smith at msmith@alfred.edu

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There’s Gold on the 3rd Floor of Scholes Library

There’s Gold on the 3rd Floor of Scholes Library

Early Advertising Flyer for the College

Early Advertising Flyer for the College

Ever been up to the 3rd floor of Scholes Library? Nestled among the study rooms and various offices stands the home of The Archives of the New York State College of Ceramics.

The business of the College Archives is to collect, describe, preserve and provide access to the story of this important college.

From its humble beginnings as the “New York State School of Clay Working and Ceramics” to the college’s present status as a leader in materials research and fine arts education, a trail of documents and artifacts are collected and made available to researchers throughout the world.

Sumer School Class 1901

Sumer School Class 1901

Calls for access to this rich history extend well beyond local service to students, faculty and administrative offices. In this past year alone we have received inquiries from institutions such as the American Decorative Arts Unit of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, the Dinnerware Museum in Cleveland Ohio, the Art and Architecture Libraries, University of Maryland, and Sotheby’s Twentieth Century Design Department.

The archives at Scholes is also busy working to serve independent scholars seeking access to records, papers, correspondence and photographic images for their books, lectures and genealogical studies.

Daniel Rhodes Tools

Daniel Rhodes Tools

This year, we have provided content from the letters of Charles Fergus Binns, biographical information on faculty and graduates past and present, information on manufacturing and artistic processes, copies of ceramic glaze recipes of notable faculty, gallery and exhibition records, and historical photographs.

Charles Fergus Binns Tool Set

Charles Fergus Binns Tool Set

At the same time, Scholes Archives Manager Verna Mullen is busy collecting and describing a steady stream of items donated to the collection and for our historical record.

1900-1901 Catalog

1900-1901 Catalog

This year we have processed items including Fosdick-Nelson gallery posters and cards, papers from the former Center for Environmental and Energy Research (CEER) at Alfred, papers from the former Center for Glass Research at Alfred, photographic transparencies of artist/educator William Parry, materials from the Schein-Joseph Int’l Museum of Ceramic Art and correspondence from renown ceramic artists Brother Thomas Bezanson and Sister Angela Fina.

Antique Glass Slides

Antique Glass Slides

This is just a brief synopsis of some the ongoing work of the College of Ceramics Archives during this past year alone. The Archives at Scholes Library holds the expected set of materials (yearbooks, catalogs, papers, correspondence, photos etc.) but is more than a repository for “stuff.” It serves a variety of important and influential communities whose purpose is to turn our “stuff” into meaningful stories and brings life and meaning to the work in our unique college.

If you have an interest in visiting the College of Ceramics Archives at Scholes Library, or have an informational need that we can address,

Glaze Recipes of Otto and Vivika Heino

Glaze Recipes of Otto and Vivika Heino

please feel free to contact Archives Manager – Verna Mullen at 607-871-2938 (mailto:mullenvc@alfred.edu).

Val Cushing's Glaze Samples

Val Cushing’s Glaze Samples

Alfred University is quite focused in its commitment to preserve its rich history. The Archives at Scholes Library focuses exclusively on the history of the Ceramics College.

This is only part of the story of Alfred University. A fuller campus history is preserved in the remarkably rich Archives and Special Collections at Herrick Library. For information or access to that collection please contact Laurie McFadden, University Archivist and Special Collections Librarian, 607-871-2385 mcfadden@alfred.edu

Theodore Roosevelt's Signature establishing The NYS School of Clay-working & Ceramics at Alfred

Theodore Roosevelt’s Signature establishing The NYS School of Clay-working & Ceramics at Alfred

Hey Mister .. Got A Match? Scholes Library Looks to Protect and Display a Gift of Historic Value

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Scholes Library is anxious to display and preserve a bit of history and is currently seeking donations to protect and display a most wonderful gift.

This past April, Scholes Library was honored to accept a donation of historic significance.  The gift is a rare, 2 volume text titled “Traité Élémentaire de Chemie,” (Elementary Treatise of Chemistry)  by Antoine Lavoisier (1793).

This title is of particular historical importance for several reasons, including its widely recognized place as “the world’s first textbook in Chemistry.”   Lavoisier is often referred to as “the father of modern chemistry” and is credited with developing the first experimentally based theory of the chemical reactivity of oxygen.  Laviosier is also co-author of the modern system for naming chemical substances.   The donors are Alfred alumnus Roger Eiss (’64) and his wife Francoise Bourget.  A fuller story on this item donation and its history may be found here.

Scholes Library takes great pride in this acquisition and has pledged to protect it, display it and make it available to researchers.   To this end, the library has received a “matching gift” opportunity from an anonymous donor.  Should the library be successful in securing donation of $1,200+  for this purpose, our donor will contribute an equal amount allowing for the purchase of an archival quality display case to preserve our newest treasure.  A quality, environmentally protected casing will allow us to establish a permanent exhibition of the 2 volume set (and display its historically significant illustrations) within the Scholes Library Special Collections Area.

AU Libraries Count! … Literally!

AU Libraries Count!  Literally!cur_george

Yay libraries!  Everyone values libraries. Who could not love the place that loaned you your first Curious George book?  Or saved you during that hellacious all-nighter on “Nietzsche Meets James Joyce: an Anthropologic Investigation into The Quantum Mechanics of Prose”?  Whether it’s following the Man in the Yellow Hat or citing Hawking’s History of Time, we have all been influenced and rescued by a “good library”.   The value of a good library has rarely been challenged.  For generations, the simple co-location of materials, services and expertise assured a measure of all-around “goodness.”
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But things have changed.  We have entered an “e-everything” world: E-Books, E-Journals, E-Collections, E-Reserves, E-Zines, E-Publishing, E-Reference, E-Scholarship, and so on.  Many of our most valued resources and services are no longer bound by “place.”   No longer will a high “gate-count”, or a huge number of volumes, a special collection, a quantity of on-site services, or the availability of librarian expertise truly indicate the real value of a library.

Alright then, how can libraries capture and measure their real value?  Well, we do it the old fashioned way.  We count!  Only by collecting and studying meaningful details of your interactions with us can we best express our concrete impact to our community and plan for strategic improvement.  We count a wide variety of interactions that make a difference to your success. Some of the statistics we count are obvious, but we also analyze interactions you may not even recognize as library services.   As a result, the AU Libraries can assure you that you will receive better and more efficient service.  We are measuring a great deal about how, why, where, and when you use the library and we are learning what ways our libraries have value and meaning to you. 

Here are just a few of the things we are analyzing:

  • How you use the library on campus and at a distance
  • Your most frequently asked questions
  • Time required to help you
  • Which curriculums/assignments need most assistance
  • Which services/resources you use (or don’t use)
  • Time of day/week/month/year you use services
  • Most common issues with our services/resources
  • How service is delivered (phone, text, in library, on the street, drop in, department, etc.)
  • Number of instruction sessions we teach, to whom, on what topics, etc.
  • Collaborations with instructors
  • Website usage, including popular research paths, visitor locations, usage patterns, and electronic library guides
  • Remote loaning/borrowing and document delivery transactions  (what are we borrowing/lending, to/from who, in what areas, when, etc.)

From data like this we discover where we can:

  • Improve staffing patterns and locationslan-dash
  • Enhance or introduce new services
  • Improve current services
  • Discover both strengths and weaknesses in our collections
  • Learn which services are under-utilized
  • Uncover impediments to efficiency
  • Identify courses that could benefit from customized instruction sessions
  • Help you use your time most efficiently
  • Better understand your assignments
  • Cultivate collaborations with faculty
  • Build a more meaningful instruction program

These are just a few measurements and potential outcomes.  Over the course of the coming semesters we will build a substantial databank of valuable information on how you use the AU Libraries.   This is certainly a painstaking process, but your librarians and library staff are excited to see what we uncover.


Yes indeed, AU Libraries Count!  
 In More Ways Than One!

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– Mark A. Smith